Editor’s Note: “Embodied” is a new mini series by Staff Writer Kari Van Horn, showcasing a variety of athletes that embody what it means to be a Man or Woman of Troy. This first one is on a Trojan that embodies the ideals that Trojans are to represent.
USC Baseball’s Kevin Swick: Faithful, Scholarly, Skillful, Courageous and Ambitious
First to the field and the last to leave is the routine of USC Baseball’s Kevin Swick. Swick, a 6’0”, 190 lb. infielder from Loyola High School in Los Angeles, California, is not one to sit around. The mentality he has about the game is visibly applicable to every aspect of his life. Swick is one of a kind. His work ethic is impeccable. His priorities absolutely take precedence in his life. This kid has blinders on and refuses to slow down until he passes the finish line.
Swick, a business major with a 3.83 Spring GPA and an overall GPA of 3.82, earned himself a spot on the Pac-12 All-Academic Team (along with teammate Andrew Triggs). To be eligible for this honor, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant contributor for their team.
Kevin Swick is an instinctual player, never second-guessing his actions because he constantly reviews his technique and is continuously correcting himself. After demonstrating his relentless work ethic as a utility-man in his first season with the Trojans, Swick earned himself a spot in the infield this spring.
“In the fall last year, I played a mixture of left field and third base until Coach [Frank] Cruz made the decision to keep me at third a couple weeks before the season,” said Swick. “Being a utility player has helped me a lot because it has allowed me to find a way to get on the field. If you can play a couple positions it definitely increases your probability of playing.”
The 20-year old has considerable worth in the lineup, starting in 37 and appearing in 39 of USC’s 40 games this season at third base or left field, while batting .278 with nine doubles, one home run and 20 RBI’s. With a slugging percentage of .380 and an on base percentage of .336, Swick was sent up the coast to play summer ball for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.
“In summer ball, you get a host family who feeds you, gives you a place to stay, and even goes to your games!” exclaimed Swick. “They are so gracious to do this and it is like a two month vacation, but even better because you get to play baseball everyday.” This week he was selected to the 2012 All-Star Team as an infielder. Swick is ranked 14th in the league for batting average, 7th overall for fielding percentage at third base, and goes into the All-Star break leading his team in both hits and doubles.
When he is not busy brushing the dirt off of his Glacier Pilots uniform or interning at an investment firm, Swick is spending the summer with his family. “I am pretty lucky because my uncle, Doug Vermillion, lives up here, so I have spent some time with his family. He lives in Anchorage, where I am staying, but he also has a house on the Kenai River, which is famous for its salmon fishing. When I go to his river house, I go shooting, 4-wheeling, fishing, and hiking.”
Being a third generation Trojan, Swick has constantly been surrounded by the Trojan Family. “I grew up going to all the football games and dreamed of going to school here. However, my parents and family never pressured me to go to USC and allowed me to make the decision for myself,” stated Swick.
It is easy to see where he derives his poise and vivacious attitude. His parents, Linda and Chuck Swick, are easy to spot in the crowd, as Mrs. Swick is USC Baseball’s number one fan.
“My parents have come to almost every one of my games, even on the road. Probably the most memorable moment was at Washington State when I saw my mom sitting in the stands in 35 degree weather with wind and rain!”
Swick maneuvers through his daily routine with the same energy that emanates when the ball springs off his bat. A very effervescent personality makes Swick a clubhouse guy. Others acknowledge his unlimited persistence and the ability to turn criticism into accomplishment. For the past school year, he led USC’s student Value Investing Group (VIG) as president, to the Michigan and Georgetown Undergraduate Stock Competitions where it made stock pitches to a group of professional investors at top investment firms.
“We have made many trips to the Value Investing Congress in New York where top hedge fund managers meet to explain their new investment ideas and raise capital,” emphasized Swick. “We have also attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, [Nebraska] this is Warren Buffet’s [famous] company.”
In addition to baseball, classes and VIG, the infielder is a member of the Trojan Athletic Senate.
“Representatives from each athletic team come together to discuss athletic issues, set up the Tommy Awards, help change NCAA rules, and represent USC at national athletic conferences,” explained Swick. “I also volunteer in the fall making and distributing sandwiches for those on Skid Row. It is very fulfilling to help those who are in need, especially so many on the streets of Skid Row.”
There is no telling what the Trojans will do this season with this kid’s bat in the lineup. His current numbers project success in fall ball and continued accomplishments carrying over into the spring. His biggest critic is himself, which will only help propel him to the next level. Always focused on the next at-bat or the next play, his mental game is very determined. He is sitting here at 20 years of age, swinging the bat effectively and being productive in the classroom. While others would pontificate, Swick is very humble.
Every day Swick continues writing his legacy into the history of USC Athletics. “The most important thing for me above getting drafted or anything else, is bringing the 13th National Championship to the program,” said Swick. “In the two years that I have left, I want to contribute to restoring USC baseball as the championship program it is and will always be. I want to help change the culture of USC baseball.”